Takane Minesix Super 66
Asahi-Kogaku T-Takumar 7.5cm f3.5
On every level I can think of (build quality, ease of use,
optical quality, styling...) this camera equals or exceeds
any folder I've used. Yet it seems to be all but unknown. I
therefore assume that only a few were manufactured or
sold. Aside from the great build quality, coupled
rangefinder and wonderful lens (which is set in a very
smooth helical mount), what sets the Super 66 apart is
the big, bright-frameline viewfinder. This camera and the
Ensign Autorange 820 have the only brightline finders I've
come across in vintage folding cameras. My Minesix
finder gives a very clear view, and also features accurate
parallax indicators. The size of the camera has
unfortunately been increased by the selenium meter,
which on mine and probably most other examples no
longer functions. Also, frame advance is via the old "red
window" system. I wish the camera's larger size was to
accommodate an auto-stop winding mechanism, but I
don't mind using the red window, and at least you know
it's never going to malfunction.
The Super 66 features a fine lens made by the
company now known as Pentax. I believe it is a
4-element Tessar design.
The camera is fairly thick and the large top-plate houses a
selenium cell exposure meter. The meter needle on mine
jumps around a bit, but is definitely not usable. There are two
red windows in the back: one for 6x6 frames and the other for
the 6x4.5cm format. Inside the camera are two flaps which
can be swung out to form a mask for 6x4.5. In this photo you
can also see the knob for the focusing helical (directly to the
rear of the shutter), which moves the entire lens back and
forth to focus.
A scandalously good "forgotten" folder
These photos were taken on yet another cloudy and dark Kyoto day. As I
was handholding, I had to use large apertures (f3.5 to f5.6). Although there
is some noticeable fall-off in the corners, I'm quite pleased with the
sharpness and "look" of these images.
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